Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
This is about the riots that ensued after the Rodney King trial in Los Angeles, California. King was a black motorist who was beaten by 4 white police officers after they pulled him over. The incident was videotaped by someone who lived nearby and became a huge news story, dealing with issues of police brutality and race. The case went to trial in suburban Los Angeles where the all-white jury acquitted the officers. Just hours after the verdict, riots broke out in the black sections of the city, prompting King's famous remark: "Can't we all just get along?"
In the lyrics, lead singer Brad Nowell says, "April 26, 1992" when referring to the date of the riots. This was a mistake - the date in the title is correct. (thanks, Curtis - Ottawa, Canada)
This contains samples of actual LAPD radio communications.
Miami is the first city mentioned in a long list of American cities where riots occurred. In the Door's song Peace Frog, Jim Morrison did something similar when he named cities where the band ran into trouble with the law, including Miami.
This features samples from "La Di Da Di" by Doug E. Fresh featuring MC Ricky D, "Original Gangster of Hip-Hop" by Just Ice, and "Shook One (Part 1)" by Mobb Deep.
Was "Pearl" Eddie Vedder's grandmother, and did she really make a hallucinogenic jam? Did Journey have a contest to name the group? And what does KISS stand for anyway?
Gary Louris of The Jayhawks
The Jayhawks' song "Big Star" has special meaning to Gary, who explains how longevity and inspiration have trumped adulation.
Into the vaults for this talk with Bolton from the '80s when he was a focused on writing songs for other artists.